Privacy Notices - Fostering Privacy Notice

Introduction

You need to be aware of this Privacy Notice if you are expressing an interest in or applying to become a foster carer.

This notice explains what personal data (information) we hold about you, how we collect, how we use and may share information about you. We are required to give you this information under data protection law.

What is a Privacy Notice?

A Privacy Notice is a statement issued by an organisation which explains how personal and confidential data about individuals is collected, used and shared.

Who is collecting and using your personal data?

Swindon Borough Council (SBC) collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we do so we are regulated under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies across the European Union (including in the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as ‘controller’ of that personal information for the purposes of those laws. Our Data Protection Officer is Stephen Maskell.

The Fostering Service approves, supports and pays foster carers, and provides them with ongoing support, guidance and training to ensure they are fully skilled to be effective foster carers. The service also works with SBC foster carers and a range of fostering agencies to ensure that children are placed with the most appropriate family.
 

What personal data do we collect?

In the course of approving and supervising foster carers we collect the following personal information when you provide it to us:

  • Personal information (such as name, address, contact details, date of birth, gender, language)
  • Special category characteristics (such as ethnicity, disability, religion and medical information)
  • Family network and relationship information
  • Employment information
  • Financial information
  • Information relating to assessments and approvals for suitability to foster children

We also obtain personal information from the following other sources:

  • The local authority in whose area you live
  • Other council departments
  • The NSPCC
  • The Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Past and present employers
  • Social media
  • References (personal and employment)
  • Previous partners
  • Health services
  • Schools

When you express an interest in fostering by visiting the webpages, we also track your visit with a cookie. This allows us to:

  • understand the effectiveness of our advertising if you have visited the webpages by clicking through from an external website
  • remind you of your interest in fostering via future website advertising, in the event that you do not formally express your interest during your original visit
How do we process your personal data?

We use your personal information to:

  • process foster carer applications
  • assess suitability to become a foster carer
  • monitor the progress and stability of placements, to safeguard and support children
  • provide ongoing support, advice and training to foster carers
  • prevent or detect crime or fraud
  • assess and evaluate our services
  • inform future service planning and the commissioning of services
  • ensure that foster carers receive the correct payments
Why do we need your personal information?

We collect and use your personal information to comply with our legal obligations under The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. If we need to collect special category (sensitive) personal information, we rely upon reasons of substantial public interest (equality of opportunity or treatment), for the provision of social care, for social security or social protection law, and for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims whenever Courts are acting in their judicial capacity.

How the law allows us to use your information

There are a number of legal, legitimate or lawful reasons why we need to collect and use your personal information.

Each Privacy Notice explains for each service which legal reason is being used. Generally we collect and use personal information in circumstances where:

  • you have entered into a contract with us
  • it is necessary to perform our statutory duties
  • it is necessary to protect someone in an emergency
  • it is required by law
  • it is necessary for employment purposes
  • it is necessary to deliver health or social care services
  • you have made your information publicly available
  • it is necessary for legal cases
  • it is to the benefit of society as a whole
  • it is necessary to protect public health
  • it is necessary for archiving, research, or statistical purposes
  • you, or your legal representative, have given consent

If we have consent to use your personal information, you have the right to remove it at any time.

If you want to remove your consent, contact DataProtection@Swindon.gov.uk and tell us which service you are using so we can deal with your request.
 

Who do we share your information with?

SBC teams including finance and children’s services.

Ofsted (in the event of a local authority inspection of children’s services) other local authorities fostering agencies - Regulation 26(1A) gives the fostering service undertaking the current assessment the power to request access to records about the applicant held by the fostering service or adoption agency which granted the approval (provided that the applicant consents).

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law.

How do we protect your information?

Under GDPR you have rights which you can exercise free of charge which allows you to:

  • know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it ask to see what information we hold about you (subject access request)
  • ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you object to direct marketing make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office withdraw consent at any time (if applicable)

Depending on our reason for using your information, you may also be entitled to:

  • ask us to delete information we hold about you
  • have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • object to how we are using your information
  • stop us using your information in certain ways

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties. Please note, your request may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on individuals’ rights under GDPR.

If you would like to exercise a right, please contact the Council’s Data Protection Officer at DataProtection@swindon.gov.uk
 

What you can do with your information

The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us and how it is used by us.

You can ask for access to the information we hold on you

We would normally expect to share what we record about you with you whenever we assess your needs or provide you with services. However, you also have the right to ask for a copy of all the information we have about you and the services you receive from us. When we receive a request from you in writing, we must give you access to everything we have recorded about you, however, we cannot let you see any parts of your records that contain: 

  • confidential information about other people
  • data a professional thinks will cause serious harm to you or someone else’s physical or mental wellbeing; or
  • if we think that giving you the information may stop us from preventing or detecting a crime.

This applies to personal information that is in both paper and electronic records. If you ask us, we will also let others see your record (except if one of the points above applies).

If you cannot ask for your records in writing, we will make sure there are other ways that you can.

If you have any queries about access to your information contact DataProtection@Swindon.gov.uk.

You can ask to change information you think is inaccurate

You should let us know if you disagree with something written on your file.

We may not always be able to change or remove that information but we will correct factual inaccuracies and may include your comments in the record to show that you disagree with it.

You can ask to delete information (right to be forgotten)

In some circumstances, you can ask for your personal information to be deleted, for example: 

  • Where your personal information is no longer needed for the reason it was collected in the first place
  • Where you have removed your consent for us to use your information and where there is no other legal, legitimate or lawful reason for us to keep it
  • Where there is no legal reason for the use of your information.
  • Where deleting the information is a legal requirement

Where your personal information has been shared with others, we will do what we can to make sure those using your personal information comply with your request for erasure.

Please note that we cannot delete your information where:

  • we are required to have it by law
  • it is used for freedom of expression
  • it is used for public health purposes
  • it is used for, scientific or historical research, or statistical purposes where it would make information unusable
  • it is necessary for legal claims

You can ask us to limit what we use your personal data for

You have the right to ask us to restrict what we use your personal information for where:

  • you have identified inaccurate information, and have told us of it
  • where we have no legal reason to use that information, but you want us to restrict what we use it for rather than erase the information altogether

When information is restricted, it cannot be used other than to securely store the data and with your consent to handle legal claims and protect others, or where it is for important public interests of the UK.

Where restriction of use has been granted, we will inform you before we carry on using your personal information.

You have the right to ask us to stop using your personal information for any council service. However, if this request is approved this may cause delays or prevent us from delivering that service to you.

Where possible we will always seek to comply with your request, but we may need to hold or use information because we are required to by law.

You can ask to have your information moved to another provider (data portability)

You have the right to ask for your personal information to be given back to you or another service provider of your choice in a commonly used format. This is called data portability.

However, this only applies if we are using your personal information with consent (not if we are required to by law) and if decisions were made by a computer and not a human being. 

It is likely that data portability will not apply to most of the services you receive from the Council. 

You can ask to have any computer made decisions explained to you, and details of how we may have 'profiled' you.

You have the right to question decisions made about you by a computer, unless it’s required for any contract you have entered into, required by law, or you have consented to it.

You also have the right to object if you are being 'profiled'. 'Profiling' is where decisions are made about you based on certain things in your personal information. For example, your health conditions.

If the Council uses your personal information to profile you, in order to deliver the most appropriate service to you, you will be informed.

If you have concerns regarding automated decision-making, or profiling, please contact our Data Protection Officer who will be able to advise you about how we are using your information. 
 

How will we ensure compliance?

We will do what we can to make sure we hold records about you (on paper and electronically) in a secure way, and we will only make them available to those who have a right to see them.

Examples of our security include:

  • Encryption, meaning that information is hidden so that it cannot be read without special knowledge (such as a password). This is done with a secret code, or what is called a 'cypher'. The hidden information is said to then be 'encrypted'.
  • Pseudonymisation, meaning that we will use a different name so we can hide parts of your personal information from view. This means that someone outside of the Council could work on your information for us without ever knowing it was yours.
  • Controlling access to systems and networks allows us to stop people who are not allowed to view your personal information from getting access to it.
  • Training for our staff allows us to make them aware of how to handle information and how and when to report when something goes wrong
  • Regular testing of our technology and ways of working including keeping up to date on the latest security updates (commonly called patches)
Main privacy notice

You are viewing the Privacy Notice for Fostering.

Read the main Privacy Notice